The number one mistake people make with dogs is not recognizing that they are in pain. As dog parents, no matter how great and familiar we are with our dear pets, it’s not easy to detect their pain because they can’t tell you about it.
A sick dog needs extra care and attention. The first step to relieving their pain is to look for the signs and symptoms. Only then can you determine the source of your dog’s pain and how to comfort a dog in pain.
Learn the one sure thing that will comfort your dog when they are in pain.
Signs That Your Dog Is in Pain
Sometimes it is difficult to know whether your dog is pain or not. But there are certain signs that can indicate an injury or an underlying issue. All you have to do is notice any changes then try to understand what type of pain they are having.
Most signs are manifested in the following ways:
- Vocalizing – whimpering, growling, howling, etc.
- Daily habit changes – reduced appetite, aversion to interaction, or a change in sleeping patterns.
- Self-mutilation – obsessive licking, biting, scratching, etc.
- Activity level changes – restlessness, trembling, or difficulty getting up.
- Facial expression and posture changes.
Look for Changes in Your Dog’s Behavior
Dogs’ behaviors can give you a clue when your pup is in discomfort. For example, their usual playtime becomes less enjoyable for them and they may even sleep in different positions.
Here are some other signs you should look out for:
- Antisocial or aggressive behavior. They might stop approaching and jumping on you when you come in the door, avoid eye contact, or even try to growl when you come near them. Sometimes, they even tend to hide away when they’re in pain.
- Changes in eating, drinking, and sleeping habits. Dogs that are in pain try to sleep more to avoid the pain. If they sleep more than usual or eat less, then it could be a sign of discomfort.
- Signs of Agitation. Restlessness is also an indicator of dogs feeling pain.
Pain can come on gradually, so your fur baby tries to adjust to it, making it harder to detect the pain.
Our dogs are so smart that they can develop their own methods for coping with it. So, you may have to look closely at your dog to see what is going on with them.
Find the Source of Your Dog’s Pain
Knowing the type of pain is important. Although this job might be left for your vet to work on, you can also learn more about the source of their pain through behaviors such as:
- Excessive grooming. Dogs love to lick their body constantly in an attempt to relieve pain, whether it is external or internal. You can locate their source of pain by looking at what body part they’re licking. This can be the paw, stomach, or their back.
- Heavy panting or altered breathing. Panting is normal, except when they have not been exercising. This means it is becoming painful for them to breathe.
- Mobility issues. Stiffness and limping are two obvious signs of pain in dogs and are likely caused by an injury, sore paws, or arthritis. Seeing them dragging a leg or putting it up makes it an evident source of their pain.
- Changes in their body and posture. Swelling of the paws, legs, and face is a sign that they are hurting in that area due to inflammation or an infection. Sometimes, they even have a rigid stance while others assume a prayer position with their front legs on the ground and their bottom in the air. This prayer posture is oftentimes caused by pain in the abdomen.
- Shaking or trembling. Sometimes, they don’t feel just cold. Your dog could be experiencing something more serious such as poisoning, pancreatitis, or kidney disease.
How to Comfort a Dog in Pain
There are many ways you can try to reduce your dog’s pain, but completely alleviating it requires consulting your vet in order to determine the cause of their discomfort. Here are some steps you can follow to ease your furry fellow’s suffering.
Consult Your Vet
An expert can help examine the underlying issue of your pet’s unusual behavior that worries you. They will also provide you with the best options for their treatment.
Although it is always your decision to make, remember to do as your vet says in order to keep your dog happy and healthy all the time.
Ensure that they receive the correct dose of any medications prescribed. Each dog will react differently to the type and dosage level of pain medication, so always monitor their response.
If your dog needs surgery or a medical procedure, do not be afraid to ask what pain management will be provided. Generally, they will receive pain relief medications before, during, and after the procedure.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs, interfere with the body’s production of inflammatory molecules that can trigger pain. They must be used with caution in order to prevent other health issues. They are only used to treat mild to moderate discomfort, and should not be used long-term.
Watch Their Response to Exercise
It is important to exercise your dog despite their illness. However, if they start acting more sluggish during their usual exercise routine, then it is time to reduce the activity.
Although exercise can help them be stronger and stimulate their minds, your dog’s exhaustion might just be a symptom of another illness.
Find some gentle ways to exercise your dog if their pain is restricting their movement. You could try hydrotherapy or slow walks, and even add in some massage to help comfort them.
Keep Their Environment Comfy
Another way to comfort a dog in pain is to ensure their environment is set up well for them.
An orthopedic bed is recommended for dogs in pain, senior dogs, and those with arthritis. This makes it easy for them to get into and out of their bed.
You can also add some comforting toys to their space to help reduce their stress and you can use essential oils to soothe their mind.
Be careful about the type of essential oil to use, though. This is because some of them can be toxic to your pet.
Give them A Balanced Diet
A proper diet that is appropriate for their condition and is well-balanced is important. This will help your dog maintain their correct weight and keep them in good physical health. Ensure they have a good source of nutrients with the best dog food available.
Spend More Time Together
The one sure thing that will comfort a dog in pain is you. It doesn’t always take loads of work or expensive treatments. Sometimes your dog just need you to be there. A belly rub, a pat on the head, and some kind words will help them know that they are being taken care of.
Comfort your pup with love and learn how to keep your dog happy at all times.
It pains us as dog lovers to see our pets sick. We want to give them everything we can to take all their discomfort away. However, because it can be tricky detecting the signs and symptoms of pain, any treatments can also be delayed.
Always be aware of your dog’s behavior. If you notice something unusual about their activities or appearance, see your veterinarian right away.
Ensure that their surroundings are comfortable and that you are giving them all the love and attention they need.